UK court upholds Lauri Love’s appeal against extradition to the US

The UK High Court has upheld Lauri Love’s appeal against his extradition to the United States, in Love v United States [2018] EWHC 172 (Admin). Mr Love is accused by the US of conducting a series of cyber-attacks against private companies and US government agencies, including NASA, the Department of Defence, and the Federal Reserve.

In its judgment, the Court accepted both of Love’s key arguments. First, it agreed that the high threshold for barring extradition on the grounds that it would be oppressive were met in Mr Love’s case. It noted he would be at high risk of suicide if extradited, and that putting him on suicide watch was itself “likely to have a seriously adverse effect on his very vulnerable and unstable mental and physical wellbeing”.

Second, the Court also agreed that Mr Love’s case met the threshold for the forum bar, which prevents extradition when it would not be in the interests of justice. It said that the combination of several factors persuaded it that the forum bar applied, namely the prospect that Mr Love would be unfit to plead, the extent to which his well-being was bound up with the presence of his parents, and the fact the prosecutor provided no view on whether the UK was the most appropriate jurisdiction.

In respect of the third factor, the prosecutor is given two opportunities under s. 83 Extradition Act 2003 to express a view and the Court found that the absence of any view weighs in favour of the forum bar applying. However, it emphasised that, where the forum bar does operate to prevent extradition, prosecution in the UK should follow as a natural consequence.

The Court did not consider Articles 3 & 8 ECHR, having upheld Mr Love’s appeal on the aforementioned grounds.

Scottish court blocks extradition of man to UAE on Article 3 & 6 concerns

A Scottish court has blocked the extradition of a 64-year old man wanted by the UAE where he has been sentenced in absentia to 12 months imprisonment for allegedly embezzling $345,000. Garnet Black is said to have taken the money from the bank account of M&M Militzer & Münch LLC, an international logistics company based in Dubai, where he worked as managing director. He says the allegations, made by his former son-in-law, are false and intended to pressure his daughter to return to the UAE, after she fled the son-in-law with their child due to his alleged violence and abuse.

In his ruling, Sheriff Tom Walsh QC found that the UAE had not satisfied the statutory pre-requisite to extradition that it demonstrate free legal aid would be guaranteed to Mr Black if extradited. In addition, Sheriff Walsh found that there was a real risk Mr Black’s Article 3 right against inhuman treatment and Article 6 right to a fair trial may be violated, but rejected the argument that his article 5 right to freedom was at risk of violation.

Key to these findings was that, if extradited, Mr Black was likely to be housed in “the squalid, unhygienic, and overcrowded conditions of Bur Dubai Police Station”, without adequate medical provision, and the significant degree of influence his son-in-law was likely to have over local police as a high-ranking Emirati. In addition, there was no guarantee that Mr Black would be in physical condition to defend himself, and would struggle to do so in any event as a non-Arabic speaker without the guarantee of free legal representation.